Well it’s been four (4) full years of living here at Roberto’s Bungalows in San Pancho and driving full time here in Mexico.
Let me tell you a story that I can’t get out of my mind. A friend and I decided to drive with the wives to San Sebastian which is up in the mountains a few hours away. My friend is a school bus driver and he asked if he could drive, so I thought it would be cool and let him drive.
We take off all happy and excited about our road trip and he tells us that a local Gringo friend from our village let him know some good tips on driving in the area. He tells us that she said if we come upon federal police and Military at road blocks to just drive through and wave and smile and don’t make too much eye contact. He says his friend informed him that they are looking for Cartel members and drugs and not grey haired old American tourist folks.
I get real scared thinking maybe he got his information from the wrong Wacky Gringo. We are having a nice drive when I see up in front of us a road block stop in both directions. There are about 20 military men with machine guns on both sides of the road all looking at our car and there is a big Military truck with a dude with a huge gun mounted on the back of a pickup pointed at the cars going by. My friend Dan says “ok everyone smile and wave and I’ll just drive through.”
Thoughts of Bonnie and Clyde and millions of bullets piercing my body race through my head and I think I passed out, but the next thing I know is we are past the stop. I do remember that I was waving and smiling like I was a little insane thinking it might help. I told Dan that maybe if there was another road stop that we should probably stop. He said NO we’re good.
In about 20 minutes we approach another one and this time there is a cop with a machine gun standing in the middle of the lane with a red flag signaling us to pull over along with the huge truck with the massive gun pointing at us and about 20 military police and there is nobody smiling.
Dan says again “ok we are not going to stop, so smile big and wave.” I know from the look on the guys face with the flag trying to get us to pull over that we are probably going to die in a flury of machine gun bullets. Dan goes around the guy and pulls into the oncoming lane and is waving and smiling and telling us to do the same and quick. The machine gun cop is waving his flag and looking pissed and we go right on by. Dan says as he speeds up don’t look back they are watching us, but they aren’t following us.
I must have not eaten any breakfast, because I didn’t crap my pants, but I did express my thoughts about how dumb I thought that last non stop was to Dan. He just smiled and said hey they probably thought we were just a car full of old stupid Americans that didn’t understand what was going on.
Well the rest of the ride I was terrified that the next road check was probably going to be the end of our lives. I knew they had probably called ahead and said “when you see the black Izuzu SUV with the four crazy waving Americans just start shooting, as they have gone through two stops without stopping.”
Well I’m here to tell you there were no more stops and we got to San Sebastián unharmed physically, but damaged mentally for life.
Do not do what we did! Stop and say hi! They are there to help fight crime!
I have since been through a few stops and have never been pulled over. They just smile and wave you through!